Cam Newton addresses Panthers return, ready to get back to work

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Cam Newton addressed the media Friday for the first time since he rejoined the Carolina Panthers on a one-year deal, reuniting him with the team that drafted him in 2010.

Newton signed his one-year deal with Carolina Thursday. He said one of the reasons he re-signed with the Panthers was he knew the team was in a position to contend. Ultimately, he added, it was about him being another piece of the puzzle.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton warms up before a preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass, in August 2019.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Former Auburn Tigers and NFL quarterback Cam Newton joins Auburn Tigers head basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his team in the stands at Jordan-Hare Stadium before an Auburn football game against the Georgia Bulldogs Oct 9, 2021. 
(John Reed-USA TODAY Sports)

“I know the buzz is going on. I just want everybody to know who is a part of the Panthers’ nation I receive it. But, this ain’t no parade. Let’s get to work. It’s really an opportunity for me to get better,” he added.

Whether Newton starts Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals remains unknown. Carolina placed Sam Darnold on injury reserve and has P.J. Walker as a backup. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Newton will travel to Glendale with the team, but it was more realistic that he gets a shot next week.

Newton finished his press conference with something he said he’s always wanted to say.

“Without further ado, I will say something that I’ve been wanting to say for a long time … keep pounding.”

Newton was released by the Panthers after the 2019 season. He spent a majority of that season injured and played only two games. Carolina fired then-head coach Ron Rivera and named Matt Rhule the new head coach, and the team decided to part ways with the three-time Pro Bowler.

Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, led the Panthers to three straight NFC South titles from 2013-15, and a Super Bowl appearance following the 2015 season, when he was awarded the league MVP. He was also named to three Pro Bowls in nine seasons.

The Patriots signed him as the temporary replacement for Tom Brady. Newton lost the Pats’ starting job to Mac Jones before the 2021 season began and had been a free agent since the start of the season.

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of a game at Bank of America Stadium Sept. 12, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C.
(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

In 2020, Newton threw for 2,657 yards and eight touchdown in 15 games.

Carolina started Darnold and was 3-0 to begin 2021. But the team has lost five of its last six games and is trying to stay afloat in the NFC South. Darnold was hurt in the most recent loss and is expected to be out four to six weeks.

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